NATION

Mere Samisoni Saves Ballantine School

Samisoni and Kubuabola Education Trust Fund repairs, stops closure.
18 Jul 2019 13:40
Mere Samisoni Saves Ballantine School
Founder of Hot Bread Kitchen Mere Samisoni (left) hands over the keys for the renovated teacher’s quarters to Ballantine Memorial School Principal Miriama Naicegucegu and the School Manager Livai Tila on July 17, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A prominent all girls secondary school in Delainavesi on the verge of being closed down has found a generous donor to help save the situation for students and teachers.

The Samisoni and Kubuabola Education Trust Fund has stepped in to assist Ballantine Memorial School in renovating the school’s teachers quarters.

Founder of Hot Bread Kitchen, Mere Samisoni, said the renovation had cost close to $38,000 and the timely assistance is to help raise the standard of education in Fiji.
More help is being considered

She said the school was on the verge of being closed down by the Lami Town Council due to Occupation Health and Safety violations.

Ms Samisoni and her board members stepped in after they were approached to assist in the matter.

“We are proud to do this because we believe our purpose is to serve the community better and we are happy that the HBK family put aside this Trust Fund to make sure that we continue to look after education in Fiji,” Ms Samisoni said.

Mere Samisoni (middle) hands over the keys for the renovated teacher’s quarters to Ballantine Memorial  School Principal Miriama Naicegucegu and the school management on July 17, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Mere Samisoni (middle) hands over the keys for the renovated teacher’s quarters to Ballantine Memorial School Principal Miriama Naicegucegu and the school management on July 17, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

With the completion of the first building, the Trust Fund Board is looking to renovate and build another teachers’ quarters.

Another two buildings are pending approval from Hot Bread Kitchen after the school gives a quotation and assessment of how much they will cost.

With the school building standing for almost 86 years, concerns have been raised on its condition and durability.

“We put the funds aside because our concern is for education in Fiji and we felt that it should be more customised and specific since it is a TVET school and they were going to close it down,” she said.

“We are from the private sector and we move to make sure our purpose is served.”

It is the first time for the Trust Fund to help in such an initiative.

Ballantine Interim Chairman Fotu Yavala said the school catered for 450 students, where 200 are hostel students and there are not enough teachers living in the quarters to assist them.

“Ten teachers are looking after the 200 hostel students and that is a large ratio and it is not enough,” Mr Yavala said.

He said they were thankful and grateful to Ms Samisoni and the Education Trust Fund for the assistance shown.

In addition, the Prime Minister’s Fund is also building teachers quarters to help support teachers who will be able to live within the school compound.

Tarpaulin is used to cover the dining hall roof of 86-year-old Ballantine Memorial School on July 17, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Tarpaulin is used to cover the dining hall roof of 86-year-old Ballantine Memorial School on July 17, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Edited by Percy Kean

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